Blended Distress Christmas Tags

DIY Vintage Christmas Tags

Christmas Tags is how my stamping journey began…many, many years ago.  I would spend hours stamping cute large Santas and Snowmen by DJ Inkers and coloring them in with pencils and markers. I spent so much time on these tags, I would save them all and reuse them for years to come – I still even have most of them! The kids new the wrapping paper was toast – but not the tags – I know…sad, but true!

So today I have a different version of a tag for you. More of my style today – not as much coloring anymore, I’m more into backgrounds, and clean & simple designs now – well, you may just see some mixed media or watercoloring the next few months from me too! So to kick off this month, I thought I’d film a tutorial on how to create an antique or vintage background for you.

HLS Christmas Challenge November 2015

This month at Happy Little Stampers, the theme is Tags, so for today’s project, I designed a clean and simple tag that has some simple paper piecings, and a great bold font greeting – courtesy of the new Everyday Sentiments stamp set.  Have fun with this tutorial! See you in a few days with another. 🙂

And be sure to check out our guest designer – Bonnie Klass’s blog for her cool project as well. I’ve been a huge fan of Bonnie’s work for a few years now – she’s a very talented stamper. 🙂

Creating a Vintage look for your Christmas Tags

  • Start with a piece of white card stock. I used a scrap piece that was 3 3/4 x 4″. Sponge Distress Inks to create your background as in the video – Old Paper, Antique Linen, Scattered Straw. Be sure to go over the colors to get a smooth antique look
  • Don’t worry about funky marks left initially by the sponge tools – they’ll work themselves out the more layers of distress ink you layer over them.

How to create an Antique Look

  • The key to achieving the antique finish or vintage look is adding a light edging around the antique finish you’ve created. I used Vintage Photo.
  • Cut your tag corners as in the video if you haven’t already.
  • As in the video, the majority of your sponge tool will be off your project, not on. Light is key here.
  • You can even add some of the lighter colors such as Scattered Straw or Antique Linen inside to smooth the Vintage Photo edging out.
  • Assemble your snowflakes and add them to your project. I used the Snowflake BigZ die by Sizzix designed for Stampin Up. Use any Snowflake dies you have. Layer to create a 3D look with different colors and sparkly embellishments.

Distress Ink Blending to create a vintage feel

  • Make sure your vintage background is fully dry – I used a heat tool, as I”m quite impatient. But if you’re making several at a time, you can dry them naturally.
  • Test the tag out as in the video to see if it’s ready to be embossed.
  • Ink up the Merry & Christmas with Versamark, stamp and emboss in Espresso Powder. I used the Everyday Sentiments set by HLS – they are bold and large stamps which works well with this project. You’ll want something that can stand out from the Snowflakes.
  • Attach your snowflakes with a strong adhesive as in the video.
  • Punch a 1/4″ hole and add some ribbon.

Vintage Christmas Tags using Distress Ink Blending

I hope you liked this tutorial! I love the end result of this tag. I’ve made several for various packages this Christmas. It’s quite easy to mass produce actually. Sponge a larger sheet, cut it down, edge and mass assemble. Work smarter – not harder! 🙂

Stay tuned in a few days for another great tag tutorial, and if you want to see more, be sure you’re on the Creative Tips E-letter! Sign up below, it’s free and has exclusive content.

I’m also entering this tag is a fun Christmas Tag event over at my good friend Loll’s blog. I encourage you to enter yours as well!


Until next time – now go get those fingers inky, make some Christmas Tags and join us for the challenge over at Happy Little Stampers!


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Blending Distress Inks and Creative uses for Word Stamps – One Layer Card

how to use distress inks

Blending Distress inks works best when you do it in layers. I remember the first time I blended Distress Inks – I thought…I don’t get it – why do people love these? They didn’t stamp well, and I got funky lines when I sponged the inks. But, once I viewed a tutorial on the amazing properties of Distress inks, I decided to give them another shot and started to not just sponge them onto my project, but blend them together and it was one of those ah ha moments. Really a wow for me – just like when you embossed for the first time!

Today I have two versions of this card for you – a true one layer card and a kicked up version that is matted and uses the flicked distress technique. I also thought it would be fun to see exactly how to use your word stamps along with a step by step video tutorial on how to effortlessly blend your distress inks for an amazing background.

The concept for today’s project evolved from two challenges – CASe this Sketch #112 and One Layer Simplicity Words Challenge. This project uses your word stamps as a focal point and builds a card around that by blending distress inks.

Tutorial on distress ink

Here’s are the keys to blending Distress inks:

You need multiple layers – one, two or three are not enough. Your first one is the undercoating, then you’ll build your color as you layer. Along with building your distress ink layers, you’ll also blend out any funky marks left by your sponge tool applicator.  That’s the best part about these inks – the blending quality.

For instance, when you start to blend colors together, sometimes the darker color starts to overtake your project and it just doesn’t blend well.  Come back in with your lighter shade and it will create an effortlessly blending between the two shades. That’s where Distress Inks really differ from other dye based inks.  The inks have movable properties – especially when they come into contact with water.

tips on sponging with distress inks

On that note, you can also use your distress inks as watercolors.  Yes, add water to them, and you can paint them onto your project.  Or add water to your sponged inks and it’ll react to it.  Their movable nature makes them reactive – and not so great for stamping.  You will not get a good result like crisp edges.  When I use them to stamp with, it’s with an image that doesn’t need to be so precise.

Another thing to remember is that Distress Inks are translucent, so they blend great with other colors to create new hues. That’s probably my favorite part!

how to use distress ink

Have fun with it!  Here are the Creative Tips behind these two projects:

    • Mask off 1 3/4” from the top of a 4 1/4 x 5 1/5” card.  Blend your inks as in the video starting with Peacock Feathers, Broken China, Faded Jeans and Seedless Preserves.
    • Be sure to go back over the Seedless Preserves with the Faded Jeans to get the deep blue you are looking for.flicked distress technique
    • Dry the blended background at the top where you will be stamping or set to the side until dry enough that embossing powder won’t stick to it.
    • Stamp and emboss your word stamps to create a fun sentiment across the end of the blended area.  Be sure to have your words go off the sides for a continual flow.  Stamp the remaining greeting above or below to the right or left side.  Emboss.
    • The Matted card pops the black matte up using stamping dimensionals or foam tape.

Dimensions for the Matted Card –

  • Blended Piece – 3 3/4 x 5”
  • Black Matte – 3 15/16 x 5 3/16”
  • White card Base – 5 1/2 x 8 1/2”


one layer card OLC with Distress ink

I also entered this project in a few other challenges – Virginia’s View Embossing Challenge, and the Less is More Makes me Happy Challenge.

CTS_Sketch_112 Virginias View March 2014

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on blending Distress inks. To see an exclusive video tutorial series with more great project – get our Creative Tips E-letter – see you next time!


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